7 Ways Women Can Pay Less for Healthcare

Healthcare for Women

It’s a fact that women do pay more than men for healthcare, both in the insurance arena and in their out-of-pocket costs. It really doesn’t seem fair, does it? Simply being female shouldn’t cost more but it does. Prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), women were paying 50 percent more for healthcare coverage and, even 81 percent more in some cases. It’s called “gender rating,” and the practice is somewhat like when car insurance companies charge higher premiums for insuring teenage drivers. Insurance companies consider women to be a higher risk than their male counterparts mainly because they go to the doctor more often than men, have babies, and ultimately live longer.

It’s still up for debate, however, whether female customers actually cost an insurance company any more than men. Unfortunately, that isn’t taken into account when it comes to gender rating. Although it is not legal anymore since the ACA, and insurance companies are obligated to cover maternity, well-woman visits, and contraception, some insurance companies could use loopholes in the law to still charge a bit more for women’s coverage.

It’s still up for debate, however, whether female customers actually cost an insurance company any more than men. Unfortunately, that isn’t taken into account when it comes to gender rating. Although it is not legal anymore since the ACA, and insurance companies are obligated to cover maternity, well-woman visits, and contraception, some insurance companies could use loopholes in the law to still charge a bit more for women’s coverage.

In addition, some recent data shows women are also spending an average 69 percent more for their out-of-pocket medical expenses than men. That’s a pretty big difference, especially when you consider the fact that statistics show that women are earning less than men in practically every occupation.
So, what can you do about it? There are a number of factors that can help lower any woman’s healthcare costs, starting with healthcare coverage. So, here are seven ways that women can lower what they pay for healthcare:

1. Quit Smoking

In this day and age, this one may seem like a no-brainer, but some women are still smoking and it’s a well-known fact that non-smokers of either sex pay less for healthcare coverage. It’s usually one of the first questions on an application for coverage and that’s because it’s so important to your health not to smoke. S0, not only will you save money on healthcare coverage, but also on out-of-pocket costs for any smoking-related illness or disease. And, just think how much you’ll save when you don’t waste so much money on smokes every week? So, whether you get a prescription from your doctor, try another method, or go cold-turkey, just do it! You’ll be so glad that you did and so will your pocketbook.

2. Maintaining Your Optimum Weight

Being overweight can contribute to a number of diseases, like heart disease, and many others. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for your health, resulting in both lower out-of-pocket costs and lower premiums. All applications for healthcare coverage ask for your weight, so being overweight certainly doesn’t help to lower what you pay for healthcare. And, although many popular diets may seem somewhat unrealistic and restrictive, there are lots of simple lifestyle changes that can be really easy to stick to for helping you with maintaining your weight loss long-term. You’ll also see that weight loss and control don’t just involve what you eat. Mental health, exercise, and even sleep play a major role. There are also plenty of excellent weight loss plans out there, like “First Line Therapy”, etc. So, choose one, stick to it and watch how your costs decrease while your energy and happiness levels increase!

3. Getting Those Health Screenings

Preventive care can bring about a reduction in risk factors that are responsible for triggering a number of chronic illnesses. This, of course, could lower the overall cost of healthcare. They include annual physical exams, immunizations, mammograms, and colonoscopies, as well as some other screenings.

4. Making Healthy Choices

A healthy lifestyle is the best way for reducing the overall number of trips to see a doctor every year. So, simply eating a healthy diet and exercising three times a week for at least 30 minutes can reduce what you pay for healthcare. Also effective are always applying sunscreen when you go outdoors, which will reduce the skin cancer risk. And, staying physically fit throughout your lifetime, and especially during the retirement years, is a significant way to further reduce what you pay for healthcare.

5. Comparison Shop

Comparing the cost of services at a variety of facilities is a good start. It’s a fact that certain facilities are charging significantly higher prices for the same procedures and services. Here’s an example: One hospital in your insurance provider’s network could be charging $1,500 for overnight sleep studies where, on the other hand, a sleep clinic that is also in-network could be charging only $600 for that exact study. And, don’t forget to comparison shop insurance providers as well if you are choosing your own rather than getting health coverage from your employer.

6. Eliminate Unnecessary Prescription Drugs

Although you should never stop taking a prescription drug without consulting your doctor, many women have prescriptions that they don’t really need or even use. And, when an insurance company checks your medical records to determine your premiums, they look at that. For example, maybe you have taken a prescription sleep aid for insomnia, but have also found that OTC remedies like Valerian, melatonin, or diphenhydramine work just as well for you and without the nasty side effects. Talk to your doctor about not taking the prescription drug anymore and ask him or her for a note saying that the prescription has been suspended. That way, you can present that note to your insurance agent or provider and your rates could be much lower because you’re not taking any prescription drugs.

7. Drink Only in Moderation

Everybody knows this one, but still, we may tend to over-imbibe on occasion. Just don’t make a practice of having more than one alcoholic beverage per day. This question is usually on health insurance apps as well, and don’t even think about fudging on your answer either. The insurance companies have their own ways of checking on these things if necessary, including getting copies of your register receipts if you shop using a grocery store membership card of any kind. There’s always a record of those purchases and, if they include too much alcohol, that could be used against you. Remember, hell hath no fury like an insurance company that has to pay out a claim.

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